12 Replies Latest reply: Jul 7, 2012 10:29 PM by Tim Fall
wtobiasjr Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

I've got a mid-2011 MacBook Air running OS 10.7.4. When I run Disk Utility in repair disk mode, I get a pop up that says "Alert - Storage system verify or repair failed" and in the details window it says "Problems were encountered during repair of the partition map" and (in ominous red type) "Error: Storage system verify or repair failed."

 

What makes this problem strange is that I only encounter this error message when running Repair Disk from the MacBook Air's hard drive. Whenever I boot from an external drive and run Disk Utility on the MacBook Air disk from the external, I get no error message. I've run Disk Warrior on the MacBook Air disk as well, but it doesn't indicate that there are any problems.

 

I called Apple Support and they told me  to take it to the Apple Store and get the hard drive replaced, which is nice of them but which still means that I'm going to be without a computer for a few days if not longer and I'll have to deal with the hassle of transferring files. I'd much prefer to fix the problem without having to replace the drive, assuming the problem is fixable.

 

Any advice?


MacBook Air (13-INCH, MID 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.4)
  • 1. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    You cannot repair the active startup disk, so I'm not sure what it is you think you did. If you try using Disk Utility to repair the active startup disk you will find that the Repair Disk button is not active. The proper procedure is:

     

    Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions - Lion

     

    Boot from your Lion Recovery HD. When the recovery menu appears select Disk Utility. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported then click on the Repair Permissions button. When the process is completed, then quit DU and return to the main menu. Select Restart from the Apple menu.

     

    Boot to the Recovery HD:

     

    Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and R keys until the menu screen appears. Alternatively, restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager screen appears. Select the Recovery HD and click on the downward pointing arrow button.

  • 2. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    wtobiasjr Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    I've never been exactly sure what the difference is between the two disks that appear in the left hand window of Disk Utility.

     

    My problem occurs when I select the top disk in the window, which says "251 GB Apple SSD SM256C Media." The Disk Repair button is indeed active when I select that disk and that's when I get the error. (I also get an error message when I click on Verify Disk).

     

    When I select the disk below it in the window, which is called "Macintosh HD," the Disk Repair button is not active, but I can click on Verify Disk. (And Verify Disk doesn't show any error.)

     

    Am I explaining this correctly?

     

    Edited to add: My S.M.A.R.T. status is verified and I have tried running Disk Utility from Lion Recovery and, again, I get no error message. The only time I get that error message is when I select the top disk in the Disk Utility window (the entry with the size of the hard drive) and click Repair Disk.

  • 3. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    The item you select does it appear somewhat like this:

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-07 at 2.05.03 PM.png

     

    Of course the content is different, but I'm more interested in the structure you see. On your computer you see Macintosh HD whereas on mine it says Lion HD.

     

    If so, then in order to repair Macintsoh HD you have to boot from a different drive because you cannot repair the active startup volume. When you select the top entry and click on the Repair Disk button all that does is repair or replace the drive's partition map.

     

    Now, if the partition map is damaged, then the only way to fix it is to repartition the SSD. Doing so will erase all the data on the drive. So you need to make a backup of Macintosh HD on a cleanly erased external drive. I would suggest using the cloning option in Disk Utility to clone the SSD to the external HDD:

     

    Clone Lion using Restore Option of Disk Utility

     

    Boot to the Recovery HD:

     

    Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and R keys until the menu screen appears. Alternatively, restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager screen appears. Select the Recovery HD and click on the downward pointing arrow button.

     

    1. Select Disk Utility from the main menu then press the Continue button.
    2. Select the destination volume from the left side list.
    3. Click on the Restore tab in the DU main window.
    4. Check the box labeled Erase destination.
    5. Select the destination volume from the left side list and drag it to the Destination entry field.
    6. Select the source volume from the left side list and drag it to the Source entry field.
    7. Double-check you got it right, then click on the Restore button.

     

    Destination means the external HDD. Source means the internal SSD.

     

    Once you have your backup then you may proceed to repartition the SSD.

     

    Step One: Boot from the external drive.  Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager appears.  Select the icon for the external drive then click on the downward pointing arrow button.

     

    Step Two: Partition the SSD

     

    1. Open Disk Utility in the Utilities folder of the HDD.

     

    2. After DU loads select your new hard drive (this is the entry with the mfgr.'s ID and size) from the left side list. Note the SMART status of the drive in DU's status area.  If it does not say "Verified" then the drive is failing or has failed and will need replacing.  Otherwise, click on the Partition tab in the DU main window.

     

    3. Under the Volume Scheme heading set the number of partitions from the drop down menu to one. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Options button, set the partition scheme to GUID  then click on the OK button. Click on the Partition button and wait until the process has completed.

     

    Step Three: Clone the HDD to the SSD

     

    1. Open Disk Utility from the Utilities folder.

    2. Select the destination volume from the left side list.

    3. Click on the Restore tab in the DU main window.

    4. Check the box labeled Erase destination.

    5. Select the destination volume from the left side list and drag it to the Destination entry field.

    6. Select the source volume from the left side list and drag it to the Source entry field.

    7. Double-check you got it right, then click on the Restore button.

     

    Destination means the SSD. Source means the HDD.

     

    Step Four: Open the Startup Disk preferences and select the SSD Macintosh HD volume.  Click on the Restart button.  You should boot from the SSD.  Eject the external drive and disconnect it from the computer.

  • 4. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    wtobiasjr Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Thanks Kappy. I think we're getting somewhere. Apparently, the partition map on my SSD is damaged. That's the source of the error.

     

    I use SuperDuper to back up my hard drive to an external drive every few days. Can I simply boot up from the external disk, erase my SSD, repartition it, and then copy the backup back to SSD?

     

    Does it make any difference that I've got FileVault turned on?

  • 5. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    Please do not use SuperDuper! with Lion. SD! has not yet been fully certified to work with Lion. I doubt it is the cause of the problem, however. For cloning I suggest using Disk Utility's Restore option. For backups and cloning you can also use Carbon Copy Cloner 3.4.5.

     

    Yes, having FileVault enabled will be an issue. See the following:

     

    OS X Lion- About FileVault 2

    OS X Lion- Using FileVault 2 and Lion Recovery

     

    I am not sure if it's considered safe or possible to repair a drive that has been encrypted with Lion's FileVault. I've never used FileVault, so I am not positive of what you may and may not do with an encrypted drive. I think you must unlock the protected disk before you can repair it.


  • 6. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    wtobiasjr Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    I turned off FileVault, cloned my SSD to an external drive using Disk Utility and was all ready to re-partition my SSD when I had a thought.

     

    The only time I get the strange error message about problems being encountered during repair of the partition map is when I run Repair Disk on the startup disk from the startup disk.

     

    When I run Repair Disk on my SSD after booting from an external drive, I get no error messages.

     

    Before I go to the trouble of reformatting my SSD, I'm just wondering if there might be an explanation as to why I never get an error message when I boot and repair from the external, which seems like it would be the preferred way to repair the drive in the first place. Could the error be related to trying to repair the partition map of the startup disk?

  • 7. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    As I've said previously you cannot repair the active startup disk. You must boot from a different disk in order to repair your normal startup disk.

     

    When you use Disk Utility to Repair the active startup disk you are not repairing the drive. You are repairing the partition map on the drive. That is what has produced your error. If you want to properly repair your startup disk you must either boot from another bootable disk or from the Recovery HD.

  • 8. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    wtobiasjr Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    And as I've said previously, when I run Disk Utility on my normal starup disk after booting from an external drive, I get no error messages. If there were a partition map problem on my SSD, wouldn't that  problem show up when I run Disk Repair on my SSD from a bootable external drive?

  • 9. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    If you boot from the SSD and run Repair Disk on the SSD (not the volume entry) and there were a partition map problem it would be repaired. And, this should be true for your other drive as well.

  • 10. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    wtobiasjr Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Thank you for all your responses, Kappy. I really appreciate all of them, but I feel like we've gotten into an endless loop. I'll try one more time: Is there any reason why Disk Utilty would show a partition map problem when I boot from and run Disk Repair on the MacBook Air's startup (SSD) disk but not when I boot from an external drive and run Disk Repair on the MacBook Air SSD disk?

     

    It stands to reason that the results of one must be in error or there must be some explanation for why I get different results depending on whether I'm running Disk Repair from the startup or an external drive.

  • 11. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,795 points)

    I would not dismiss an error as a mistake even if it were a mistake. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is this. Here is an image of my drive in Disk Utility:

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-09 at 12.06.52 PM.png

     

    You will note that the Repair Disk button is active when I select the main drive entry - 1 TB WDC ....

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-09 at 12.07.59 PM.png

     

    However, if I select a volume such as Mountain Lion the Repair Disk button is ghosted.

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-09 at 12.08.15 PM.png

     

    If I select the main drive entry and click the Repair Disk button here's what is displayed:

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-09 at 12.11.48 PM.png

     

    You will note that the last log entry shows "The partition map appears to be OK."

     

    In your case you originally stated that you received an error about the partition map when you did the same thing on your active startup drive.

  • 12. Re: Strange Disk Utility error
    Tim Fall Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)

    I just want to jump in here and say I get the same message as well. Here is some additional information:

     

    The problem began (as it did for several other people) directly after the 10.7.4 update. It also seems to have something to do with already having your system encrypted with FileVault before applying the update. It also doesn't seem to throw an error when verifying or repairing the disk in the Recovery Partition. That would imply that the problem may be with Disk Utility having an issue with an ecrypted drive during a verify/repair.

     

    I hope that helps somewhat, it would be nice to get this worked out.

     

    Note: the 10.7.4 update included a bit to specifically change compatibility with systems using FileVault 1. I have a suspicion that this is where things went wrong.

     

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4000219?start=0&tstart=0